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Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Gujarat >> Sightseeing in Gujarat

Sightseeing in Gujarat

Sightseeing in Gujarat includes visiting the state capital Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, and various other magnificent cities of this vibrant state of India.

Ahmedabad, has some fine examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture, contemporary 20th century buildings, and old classic examples of the havelis (mansions) of rich Hindus. The city is also famed for its educational institutions, markets, textile industries and for Gandhi’s ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati River.

A former princely state, Bhavnagar is a port on the Gulf of Cambay. It serves as a base for Jain pilgrims on their way to the Shatryunjay Temple and the old city of Palitana. The hilltop complex is dotted with as many as 863 temples, most of them in beautifully carved marble, built over a span of 900 years.

Take a sightseeing tour to Junagadh, an ancient fortified city, with a chequered past. It has an interesting mix of mosques, Hindu temples, Buddhist monuments, gothic archways, and beautiful mansions - not forgetting the splendid Jain Temples on Girnar hill (4 km to the east). It takes its name from the ‘old fort’, which encircles the medieval part of the city.

Bhuj is an old walled city situated in an amphitheatre of hills virtually in the heart of Kutch, on the edge of the Great Indian Desert, the Thar Desert. It has an old fort, bustling markets, walls within walls, mansions with intricately carved wooden pavilions, charming gateways and colourful temples. The city and its old quarter were destroyed in the January 2001 earthquake.

The port city of Surat which lies on the banks of the Tapti River some 235 km south of Ahmedabad, is one of the good places to see in Gujarat. Its strategic position on the coast and its prosperity made it a frequent pawn in the battle for supremacy between the French, British, and Portuguese interests in India.

The Marathas, the Mughals, the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, and the English held sway over the region at one time or another. Despite the turbulence, Surat grew in eminence to become one of the major ports and among the most prosperous cities of western India in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The sole remaining habitat of the Asiatic lion in India is Sasangir in the state of Gujarat. The Asiatic lion ranged across the Indian subcontinent before it was nearly wiped out of existence in the early years of the 20th century. The Gir lions were brought under protection by the Nawab of Junagadh, who banned all hunting in the area.

The Government of India declared the area a national park in 1965. Since then, the dwindling population has shown sighs of recovery and now numbers about 300. The Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary stretches over 1,412 sq km of scrub and grassland, dry deciduous forest and marshland that house antelope, deer, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles and jackals, along with a spectacular array of birds.

The city of Vadodara is one of the best places to visit in Gujarat. It comes as a pleasant change, different from the cities in Gujarat. It lies some 100 km southeast and still retains its princely, old world charm. It was the erstwhile capital of the princely state of Baroda, part of the kingdom of the Maratha lords, the Gaekwads. The city owes much of its importance to its erstwhile ruler, Sayajirao Gaekwad. He developed the city on the banks of the Vishwamitri River as an educational, commercial and industrial centre of central India.

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